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J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci Appl. 1998 Aug 21;713(1):137-46.

Determination of drugs of abuse in meconium.

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US Drug Testing Laboratories, Des Plaines, IL 60018, USA.


Fetal exposure to drugs has many adverse effects upon the neonate including low birthweight, small head size and an increased risk of miscarriage and death. Correct diagnosis of drug use during pregnancy is essential if the child is to receive specialized treatment and care, which will aid in learning and behavioral development. Diagnosis will also help in the prevention of subsequent drug-exposed children being born to the same mother. Meconium is the first fecal material excreted by the newborn and is an excellent depository for drugs to which the fetus has been exposed. Its analysis is widely accepted in the scientific and medical communities since it has several advantages over urinalysis, including providing a longer historical record of drug exposure and easier collection. Various drugs and their metabolites have been detected in meconium, however, the metabolic profile of drugs in meconium differs from that of neonatal and/or maternal urine. This article addresses the determination of cocaines, amphetamines, opiates, cannabinoids, phencyclidine, nicotine and methadone in meconium using several analytical procedures including immunochemical and chromatographic methods.

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